2021 Best & Brightest EMBAs: Matthew Goldsby, Rice University (Jones)

Matthew Goldsby

Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University

Age: 37

“A bold, thoughtful entrepreneur driven by a passion for unleashing potential in others.”

Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee; deep roots now in Houston, Texas.

Family Members: My amazing wife, Meredith, two wonderful daughters (ages 4 and 2), our baby boy of 6-months, and Judge: an 8-year old yellow Labrador Retriever, who wishes it noted his tenure precedes all previously-mentioned family members.

Fun fact about yourself: I love outdoor recreation and have had a life-long passion for team sports. The combination of these two interests led me to travel the nation with my father in my early teens to compete in Sporting Clays, ultimately becoming a two-time All-American and the 1998 World Champion at the age of 15. More than anything, the sport helped form my mental approach to dedicated practice, overcoming failure, and the pursuit of goals that at first seem unachievable.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Rhodes College, Memphis – Business.

Where are you currently working? Founder & CEO of Belvoir Real Estate Group, which I launched at the age of 28 from a laptop and my kitchen table. Our rapidly growing firm now houses 25 bright and passionate professionals that continue to partake in and contribute to each other’s collective success.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: Recently, I’ve been active in my EMBA class student association, working as the development chair for our class. I also participate as an executive committee member and board trustee for The Council on Recovery and as a board member and secretary of the Houston CCIM chapter. I’m also an active member in the Vistage International CEO program. My wife and I also actively serve as a marriage preparation counselor for St. Michael’s Catholic Church, helping to prepare couples in both faith and relationship skills for matrimony.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Paying it forward. At Jones, I was nominated as the Class Gift Chair with the responsibility of leading the raise for the alumni fund – an assignment I was excited and honored to receive. Recognizing that we could achieve higher participation rates and better yields with a more narrative-based approach, I rebranded the initiative as a Development Committee, with the main goals of achieving a 100% class participation rate and ultimately endowing an EMBA scholarship. Within my first 30 days as chair, we established a committee and successfully secured commitments that exceeded all historical class gift amounts. Unfortunately, life came to a grinding halt as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, putting the Class Gift initiative on ice across all MBA programs. However, the opportunity to repurpose the group presented itself immediately: we were able to quickly mobilize resources to aid classmates in need of assistance due to COVID-19 impacts throughout 2020. By successfully adapting to changing circumstances, our committee had an impact beyond what most would have considered possible during such challenging and volatile year for many.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? It was seeing individuals and teams within the firm grow both personally and professionally. As leaders, we can help create and share a unified vision, invest in people through mentorship and guidance, secure resources and opportunities, and build a vehicle for others to mutually benefit from and contribute into. Throughout my career, I have learned that acquiring a skill or achieving results is one level of success; however, I believe that helping others to realize this growth in themselves represents a next level of challenge and accomplishment.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? It was the people and relationships. Our cohort is comprised of experienced, highly qualified, and competitive individuals that contribute value to the MBA education far beyond the coursework. From fleshing out ideas with in depth peer-driven conversations to applying new frameworks informed by the diverse work and life experiences of the class, I believe that the Jones School education is that much richer from the contributions of its cohort.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? It is all connected – despite a particular role or business function, healthy organizations need to have operational alignment a complimentary objectives among business units. In every unit-level decision we make, our firm makes an effort to incorporate this lesson.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? I need help – prior to program, I was confused into thinking that life, work, and school could all be managed. Throughout life, I have successfully muscled my way through tough situations for ultimately favorable outcomes. However, upon taking on the EMBA program, the lesson of needing assistance and asking for help become much more necessary, and then comfortable, and then enjoyable. In particular, during an unseasonable Texas winter, I resorted to asking my in-laws for assistance to help care for our small family in order to manage that week’s load of business and school work.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Don’t get stuck waiting for the “perfect time” because it likely doesn’t exist. Much like waiting for the “perfect time” to propose to a loved one or start a family, there really is no such thing. Instead, if you feel the desire in your heart, then take the leap of faith and commit to a journey of self-edification and tapping into untapped potential. Don’t go looking for a particular “ROI” MBA moment – instead, enjoy the program and relationships, embrace curiosity again, and learn for learning’s sake.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? The biggest myth is that you only need an MBA to career pivot, get a promotion, or start a new company. As a founder, I am frequently asked why I pursued an MBA after having already started a successful company – well, you don’t know what you don’t know. In fact, my only regret is that I didn’t pursue the education sooner. While the degree wouldn’t have altered my choice in industry or profession, it would have reduced struggles and increased my capabilities, allowing me to advise my team and clients more efficiently.

What was your biggest regret in business school? With such a rich and involved cohort, my biggest regret is missed moments. There is an incredible volume of opportunities: events, speakers, elective classes, and clubs that were of great interest. Due to schedule limitations, I was not able to participate in everything. However, I did learn an additional lesson: be intentional about prioritizing your time, but leave flexibility to take a chance on new opportunities, as well.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Jackie Nguyen comes to mind. A highly capable professional, student, mother, friend, and classmate, she was a person who set a constant example in how she balanced it all with love and care. When tragedy struck Jackie and her family, her real strength and courage became more evident than ever as a distinguished embodiment for what it means to maintain strength through adversity.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? Above all, I believe experience matters. I wanted to learn from the best professors alongside a cohort of diverse and seasoned professionals. Nothing beats the Jones School.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I don’t want to just run a business, I want to change the business. To accomplish that goal, I want to build a lasting organization that enriches the lives of its stakeholders, improves the communities where it operates, and sets a new standard within the industry of commercial real estate.

What made Matthew such an invaluable addition to the class of 2021?

“Matthew Goldsby has not only been an invaluable addition to the EMBA class of 2021, but he will be an invaluable addition to the Rice Business alumni community. As Director of Development and Alumni Relations in the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University, I had the pleasure of getting to know Matthew early on in his journey through the Rice Business Executive MBA program. Matthew graciously stepped up to lead his cohort’s class gift campaign. From our very first interaction – a phone call – I knew that Matthew was a special addition to the EMBA class of 2021. Our first in-person meeting confirmed just that: Matthew showed up to my office and presented a plan detailing how he would lead his classmates to what would have amounted to the most successful class gift campaign in the history of the school. (Unfortunately and unbeknownst to us at that time of our first meeting, a pandemic was looming on the horizon. COVID ultimately had other plans for the world, leading us to cancel the school’s class gift campaigns across all MBA programs.

Matthew’s ambitious fundraising plan struck me for several reasons and, though only a single example, speaks volumes about his intelligence and character. Having spent my career in the nonprofit development realm, I had never, until meeting Matthew, had a volunteer show up to a meeting with such a thoughtfully laid-out fundraising plan. Secondly, and I think this point really hits on what sets Matthew apart, the unabashed zeal that Matthew exuded while presenting his ideas to me was striking. His enthusiasm was genuine and his positive energy contagious. When it was announced that the 2021 class gift campaign would be cancelled, Matthew’s response to me was, “what else can I do to help?” To me, Matthew embodies authentic leadership in its highest form. Matthew has played a starring role in the Rice Business EMBA community and will only continue to shine as an alum.”

Alaina Schuhsler
Director of Development & Alumni Relations
Rice University
Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business


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